Failure To Appear in Atlanta Georgia
In Georgia, drivers stopped by police for an alleged traffic violation may have to sign a traffic ticket. By signing the traffic ticket, the driver promises to appear in court. The driver has the option to avoid going to court by paying the fin prior to the court date. If they cannot make the court date, they have the option to get the date rescheduled in advance of the date. If they do not go to court they will get a failure to appear.
Unfortunately, things happen. The driver may forget about the court date. There could be a sudden emergency in the family preventing the driver from appearing in court. Anytime a driver does not appear in court on their scheduled court date, it is called failure to appear.
A Driver is not Allowed to Pay the Fine After Missing a Court Date in Georgia
If a driver does not want to go to court and fight the ticket, they typically choose the first option of paying the fine by:
The first option of paying the ticket is no longer an option after being cited for failure to appear. Once the court date is missed, a driver must appear in court.
In Georgia, the Department of Driver Services is Told of the Failure to Appear
After a driver fails to appear in court and is cited for failure to appear, the information is sent to the Department of Driver Services or DDS. The department is responsible for adding points to a person’s driving record each time they violate a traffic law.
The Department of Driver Services is also responsible for suspending a person’s driving privileges. After the court notifies the department, it will notify the driver about their driving privileges. Depending on when the driver receives the notice, their driver’s license will be suspended or already has been suspended.
When a driver’s license is suspended, a person loses their right to drive. They cannot drive to school, work or anywhere else. If a person decides to drive on a suspended license and is caught, they face serious consequences. Atlanta police will take the driver to the county jail for a mandatory 48 hours. They may have to pay a fine ranging from $600 to $1,000.
If the driver is caught driving on a suspended license for the second time, it is a mandatory 10 days in jail. The fine increases too.
In addition, the driver’s license will be suspended again. This time it could be six to 12 months. All this will happen prior to the failure to appear case is resolved.
Reinstating a Driver’s License in Georgia after a Failure to Appear
To reinstate driving privileges, a person must resolve the failure to appear case. Once the case is resolved, the individual must request a letter from the court detailing the case has been resolved. They have to give the letter to the Department of Driver Services, then apply for reinstatement.
Worst Case Scenario is a Georgia Bench Warrant is Issued for the Driver
Depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the ticket, a judge may decide to escalate the issue. The judge may issue a bench warrant for the driver. An arrest warrant is an order by a judge for a person’s arrest. An arrest warrant is usually requested by a prosecutor based on the evidence of a crime.
A bench warrant is different. It is a type of arrest warrant. Instead of a judge granting a prosecutor’s request, the makes the order from the bench. Police are notified of the warrant for the driver’s arrest. At any time, a driver can be arrested and sent to jail.
If a driver is stopped by police or simply picking up a police check for a new job, they can be arrested. Once arrested, the driver is immediately sent to county jail. Unlike a license suspension, there is no timeframe to leave county jail. The driver must resolve the failure to appear case before they can leave county jail.
Consequences of having a Failure to Appear in Georgia
Some permanent consequences to not showing up to a traffic court appearance include the failure to appear permanently being on a person’s driving record. For many people, it may not be a severe consequence. For anyone who has a job involving driving, it could be a serious problem for an employer. For instance, an employer could terminate the driver for having a failure to appear on the driving record.
Resolving a Failure to Appear Case in Georgia
Once a driver becomes aware of the failure to appear and/or bench warrant, they must act quickly. Sometimes it could be as easy as talking with the court about how to resolve the failure to appear status. The process may vary from having to appear in court to just paying the fine.
Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC Immediately for Help with Your Atlanta Failure to Appear
You were not able to attend your traffic court hearing. Maybe you forgot or just did not go to court. It does not matter now. What matters is resolving your failure to appear status.
Contact a lawyer prior first to understand the specific consequences you are facing and what you need to do. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC to resolve the matter. We will quickly work to end any license suspension, failure to appear and bench want. Contact us immediately.